Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chevrolet Spark Test Drive.

The Spark might be familiar in other countries, but it is all new to us .
And it is quite amazing that a US manufacturer offers such a small car in the US, as it is only about 3 inches longer than a Fiat 500. And it has 2 more doors.

It looks just fine. Like a little bulldog to some. It seems that most people who saw it liked it.

 The fun  personality carries over inside. Where things look modern, are well laid out and feel pretty solid.
This is no Audi interior, but at a about $12 000 to start, it is no Audi price either.
The main things missing are a sunroof or GPS options.
Even though an oversized sunroof is available in other markets.

The upgraded stereo system in my 2LT test car sounded OK. But not great.
The bluetooth audio worked fine.

 As you can see,, the back seat is surprisingly roomy for a car that size.
 The small trunk was also just fine for the size of the car. And of course, you can fold down the rear seats.

With only 84hp, I was expecting the worse. But unlike some other small cars with not much power (Like the painfully underpowered Fiesta), the Spark never felt bad. With the 5 speed manual, it was actually a lot of fun to drive.
With plenty of power in the city. And things were just fine on the freeway as well.

The ride is very firm, maybe too much for some. The steering is light and has quite a bit of that, now common, video game feel. But it's pretty accurate. And I got used to it.

It is not the best freeway cruiser. There is enough power, but the firm ride and light weight can make the ride feel a bit twitchy at times. 

One thing I noticed on a sunny day was a pretty bad case of reflections on the windshield. From the top of the rather shinny dashboard. Which gets quite annoying once you notice it.

I must say that I really enjoyed my week with the tiny Spark. Parking and driving it around town is always fun. Especially with the smooth shifting 5 speed manual.
And that little engine sounds nice too when you push it a bit.

It is pretty quiet, has a nice interior and feels super solid over bumps.

It is officially rated at 32city/38HWY. Which doesn't seem that great for such a small car.
But my real life driving resulted in better numbers. I got 35 in the city.
And a really good 45 HWY. Without trying really hard.

I really would recommend the Spark. It tops out at about $16 000, which is where the Fiat 500 starts.
It is a roomy, well built little car that gets great mileage.

And best of all, I couldn't wait driving it around every morning.


Anonymous said...

these minicars are all about as exciting as a shopping cart. Doesn't matter who makes them; Honda, Hoover, GM, Toyota, Suziki, Craftsman, Club Cart, whatever. Dull Dull Dull as Dirt.

Anonymous said...

^ And the last time you drove the Spark was?

I would KILL to find a 5 spd Spark...just to test it out. My partmner has the Auto and there is an issue with it that is slowly but surely coming to light. One time it lost power and would not accelerate with RPMS trapped at 3,000 and another time I was on the highway the cruise turned off, the speedometer went to 0 MPH and the car shook, then it all went back to normal. It scares me at times. More people are coming forward.

I'm sure the 5 speed is fine though. Other than that, this is a great little car!

- FusioptimaSX

Matt said...

For 2013, the Spark gets nav courtesy of a smart phone app that interacts with the head unit. http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-10863_7-10013851-8.html

Anonymous said...

I've been in Italy for the past week, and it's amazing how just about every car is this size or even smaller. To see the occasional A6 looks like a monster in comparison. Even RR Evoques, which are everywhere, look large. I don't think I'd want a car this small back home in NY, but it's very cool here and it would make me consider one as a fun third car to use as a cheap runabout. Glad that Chevy is starting to make good small cars. This looks really nice.

Anonymous said...

Not bad as a golf cart, but I sure wouldn't feel safe on the highway in something so small.

6-speed said...

It's not made by Chevy. It's a Daewoo made for Chevy.

Anonymous said...

Daewoo Automotive hasn't been in existence since 2001 and this vehicle is based off of GM's gamma II platform (developed by GM's European operations) which premiered on this car in 2010. So......you're wrong.

6-speed said...

Thanks! I'm glad to be wrong then! Whew!